Do you fail to pursue some of your goals due to a fear of criticism? Do you worry about what other people will think or say about you if you try something new or you don’t succeed?

With each passing day it seems like a very vocal combination of family, friends, work colleagues, and social media users have adopted criticizing people as the #1 topic when communicating with one another. Gone are the days of commenting on the weather. Today, the subject of conversation is more likely how the stupid weatherman missed the forecast.

While constructive criticism is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth, you likely find yourself increasingly witnessing gossip, taunting, disrespect, spite, petty insults, disregard, or negative comments that are presented without offering any constructive value.

In my experience, rarely are the consistent negative critics high performing confident people whose lifestyles reflect a steadfast commitment to love, service, leadership, and the success of others. Instead, their lifestyles often reflect bitterness, selfishness, and a desire to see other people fail with the hope their status will improve because of another individual’s shortcomings. You might be familiar with the phrase, “Hurt people hurt people.” 

Do not allow the negative critic’s words to take real estate in your mind, and certainly, do not sink to their levels. Instead, plan, focus, and act with such intensity towards your life’s purpose and personal growth that you don’t have time to pay attention to anything or anybody that tries to distract you from your active progress towards your goals.

Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech on April 23rd, 1910 called “Citizenship in a Republic,” which, throughout history would become known as “The Man in the Arena.”  The most famous part of his speech brilliantly separates the critic versus the man daring to go after their goals.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In which camp do you live?

Do you fear the critic?

Are you the critic?

Are you the man or woman in the arena?

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